Shutting Out The Sun

Shutting Out The Sun

3.58 (782 ratings by Goodreads)
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The world's second-wealthiest country, Japan once seemed poised to overtake America as the leading global economic powerhouse. But the country failed to recover from the staggering economic collapse of the early 1990s. Today it confronts an array of disturbing social trends, notably a population of more than one million hikikomori the young men who shut themselves in their rooms, withdrawing from society. There is also a growing numbers of "parasite singles" single women who refuse to leave home, marry, or bear children.

In this trenchant investigation, Michael Zielenziger argues that Japan's tradition-steeped society, its aversion to change, and its distrust of individuality are stifling economic revival, political reform, and social evolution. Shutting Out the Sun is a bold explanation of Japan's stagnation and its implications for the rest of the world.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 340 pages
  • 133 x 202 x 20mm | 270g
  • Ballantine Books Inc.
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 1400077796
  • 9781400077793
  • 170,215

Review quote

"Offers a glimpse at an uneasy nation suspended between two worlds."

--The Wall Street Journal

"Full of surprises and fresh discoveries, Shutting Out the Sun convincingly explains why the great Japanese juggernaut has faltered -- and it does so with intelligence, insight and verve."

--Richard Rhodes

"Shutting Out the Sun puts a human face on a nation's plight and provides an intriguing point of entry into a consideration of Japan's crisis of confidence."

--The Washington Post Book World

"Well-researched. . . . Zielenziger gives observers of this reticent country good reason to be concerned."

--San Francisco Chronicle
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About Michael Zielenziger

Michael Zielenziger is a visiting scholar at the Institute of East Asian Studies, UC Berkeley, and was the Tokyo-based bureau chief for Knight Ridder Newspapers for seven years. Before moving to Tokyo, he served as the Pacific Rim correspondent for San Jose Mercury News, and was a finalist for a 1995 Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting for a series on China. Find him online at
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Rating details

782 ratings
3.58 out of 5 stars
5 18% (144)
4 36% (284)
3 33% (261)
2 9% (72)
1 3% (21)
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